In the News

Fish Talk in the News – Friday, July 13

Offshore wind is expanding in New England. Image via NOAA Sea Grant.

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 200, “The Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility Fisheries Management Act.” The vote was 222-193 and fell largely along party lines (nine Democrats supported, 15 Republicans opposed). The bill, sponsored by Rep. Young (AK) would reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Act but would eliminate current rebuilding timelines and allow flexibility around setting catch limits. The bill is divisive even among fishing groups.
  • Langevin (RI), with support of Rep. Cicilline (RI), offered an amendment to H.R. 200 that would have allowed Rhode Island two seats on the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, but the House voted no. RI fishermen often target fish that are managed by the Mid-Atlantic Council, such as squid and butterfish, but do not have a say in how the stocks are managed. Langevin said that there was precedent for adding RI to the Council because North Carolina had been added in 1996. Amendments related to New England that did pass include one on lobster fees and two on groundfish monitoring.
  • As of last week, there have been no reported deaths of North Atlantic right in Canadian waters. To protect the highly endangered whales, Canada is conducting surveillance and has implemented fishery closures and mandatory slow down zones for boats. The whales are expected to be in the Gulf of St. Lawrence for another two months. Last year, 12 right whales died in Canadian waters due to ship strike and gear entanglement.
  • The New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils created a website displaying offshore wind energy leases from New England to Cape Hatteras, N.C. WorkBoat.com reports, “The page is intended as a one-stop information source for mariners and other stakeholders with interests in how the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plans leasing for offshore wind energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).” The website includes links to BOEM and other government documents, wind developer’s information, public meetings and information sessions, and the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic data portals.
  • The UN Food and Agricultural Agency released a new report saying that world fish production is expected to increase 18 percent by 2030, even though the amount of wild caught and farmed fish has slowed. According to VOA News, “[T]he report said future growth depends on sustainable management and stronger fishing management, and successfully fighting such problems as pollution, global warming, and illegal fishing.”
  • A pilot study by a RI-based nonprofit Eating with the Ecosystem has found that only 15 percent of seafood in New England grocery stores originated in New England waters. Maine had the most local seafood available (33%) followed by Rhode Island (24%), Massachusetts and Connecticut (12% each), and New Hampshire and Vermont (5% each). The study took place over a two-week period in March. EcoRI reports, though, that “while the percentage of locally caught species available for purchase was low, the total number of species for sale was unexpectedly high”: 91 species in total.
  • Senators Markey and Warren of Massachusetts have expressed their support of the SAVE Right Whales Act, joining four other Atlantic Coast senators as co-sponsors. The Cape Cod Times reports, “The legislation would allocate $5 million annually in grants through 2028 for conservation programs, and the development of new technology or other methods to reduce harm to right whales from fishing gear entanglements and ship collisions.” A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

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